Some frozen fruit products produced by Scenic Fruit Company that are sold at Trader Joe’s, Costco, and a handful of other stores are now being recalled due to possible contamination of hepatitis A. The news was announced by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, March 17.
According to the agency, the nationwide recall of frozen organic fruits in the United States has been specifically issued for frozen organic tropical blends sold at Trader Joe’s and organic frozen strawberries sold at Aldi, Costco, Vital Choice Seafood, KeHe, and PCC Community Markets.
Frozen organic strawberries from Scenic Fruit Company may also be sold under other brands such as Simply Nature, Kirkland, and Made With, as stated by the FDA. The agency posted detailed information about the states where the strawberries have been sold, along with the universal codes and expiration dates.
Although hepatitis A has not yet been detected in these products, the Food and Drug Administration, as a precautionary measure, is requesting consumers to return the recalled fruits for a refund.
The Scenic Fruit Company, based in Oregon, has already stopped the production and distribution of these fruits while both the FDA and the company are investigating the matter.
No deaths have been reported due to Scenic Fruit Company's frozen fruits so far
The affected frozen fruits are sold under the Kirkland Signature brand at Costcos in Idaho, Alaska, Washington state, Utah, Montana, and Oregon.
Trader Joe’s gave out a statement where they said that so far, no illnesses or cases of hepatitis A have been reported in connection with frozen organic products from Scenic Fruit Company and that the items that already reached the stores, had been removed and destroyed.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that among people in Washington who ate the frozen fruits, two hepatitis A cases have been suspected and three cases have been confirmed. Two of those consumers were hospitalized. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported so far.
As the FDA defines it, hepatitis A is a liver disease that is contagious and can be contracted within 15 to 50 days after exposure. It can be caused by eating contaminated food. Hepatitis A usually causes mild illnesses that can last for a few weeks. However, it can also turn severe and can stick around for several months.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice, fatigue, dark urine, abnormal liver tests, and pale stools. For consumers with already existing health conditions, a severe case of this infection can lead to liver failure.
The FDA has advised consumers who may have already eaten the frozen fruits to consult a doctor or a healthcare professional.
They may also be recommended to take the vaccination. Customers who are already showing symptoms of hepatitis A are encouraged to immediately seek their doctor or a local healthcare facility.
Evidence collected from the investigation into the products pointed to the frozen organic strawberries as a possible source of the outbreak, according to the CDC.
Another company, California Splendor Inc., has also called for a recall of organic frozen strawberries that were sold at some of the Costco stores on the West coast.